Peace has descended in South Africa following meeting between Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlighten Christian Gathering (ECG) church officials and South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) which ended constructively with both parties agreeing ‘immediate cessation of all hostilities.’
The two parties met on Thursday in Sandton mediated by government religious watch dog body, the CRL Rights Commission.
The commission’s chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva says an agreement has finally been reached and hailed the two parties for turning up to the event.
“After extensive deliberations, the parties agreed on the following – the immediate cessation of all hostilities from both sides, the CRL Commission will pursue negotiations with the church for possible support for the bereaved families,” said the Commission’s spokesperson Mpiyakhe Mkholo.
Three women died in a stampede at ECG church at the Pretoria showgrounds following a hailstorm on December 28 last year. They have been identified as Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogahlo Maria Segodi. Several other congregants were injured as they ran for shelter.
Following the stamped, there have been several protests and growing calls from Sanco for Prophet Bushiri to close his church doors and leave the country.
The Commission says it will pursue negotiations with the Church for possible support for the bereaved families.
“We have committed to doing a follow up briefing to arrange where further announcements will be made. We are also allowing Sanco to consult and update their constituency,” saysMkhwanazi-Xaluva, while at the same time urging all municipalities to enforce all bylaws in order to prevent a similar incident from happening.
ECG’s Content and External Media Relations Manager Maynard Manyowa says the church agrees with the findings and recommendations of the Commission and that ECG and Prophet Bushiri were committed to the mediation process.
“We would like to express gratitude to the entire commission and representatives of SANCO who attended the mediation.
“We remain committed to engaging any and all stakeholders in the country.
“We totally regret the death of Nondumiso Patricia Pringane, Matshila Sarah Mohlala and Lehlogaholo Maria Segodi and again reiterate that we remain a ministry in mourning. “We are committed to ensuring we support members of the family.”
Sanco Tshwane regional chairperson Abram Mashishi was upbeat with the ongoing negotiations.
Earlier on Thursday, Christians of South Africa criticised Sanco over its attacks against Bushiri.
“These misguided attacks against the church by Sanco is evidence enough to prove that faith in South Africa is under attack and Christians should prepare themselves for a volcano of persecution, perpetuated by the ANC government,” Cosa president Pastor Derick Mosoana said.
“South Africa is not immune to stampedes and it is only normal that in every uncontrolled crowd a stampede is unavoidable. South Africans died during soccer matches and concerts but none of these agents of satan ever lobbied support against the affected artists or soccer teams.”